THE YEAR 2019 is likely to end as the second or third warmest ever, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said Tuesday in the latest of a series of warnings in recent months about a rapidly worsening climate scenario.
“Global mean temperature for January to October 2019 was 1.1 degree Celsius (error margin of 0.1 degree) above pre-industrial levels. 2019 is likely to be the second or third warmest year on record. The past five years are now almost certain to be the five warmest years on record, and the past decade 2010-2019, to be the warmest decade. Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than any preceding decade since 1850,” the WMO said in a provisional statement on the State of Global Climate in 2019.
Petteri Taalas, secretary general of WMO, said these numbers were provisional since the year was not yet out but were unlikely to change significantly over the next one month. The warmest year on record so far has been 2016.
The WMO report said the average global atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide in 2018 had touched 407.8 parts per million, which was 147 per cent of pre-industrial levels, which is taken to be 1750. Other greenhouse gases, like methane and nitrous oxide, had also touched record levels in 2018. This year, the daily average carbon dioxide concentration crossed 415 ppm for the first time ever, though it has receded after that. The annual average is likely to be below that level.
The state of the climate report also noted the unusually strong Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that developed this year.
A positive IOD is characterised by warmer than usual waters in the western Indian Ocean, towards the Arabian Sea, and cooler than average temperatures in eastern Indian Ocean, near the Indonesian coast. The reverse situation is called negative IOD. This difference in sea surface temperatures drives a number of regional weather events. This year the dipole was strongly positive, and was believed to have been partly responsible for unusually high rainfall in August and September as well as delayed monsoon withdrawal from India.
The WMO statement came on the second day of the climate conference in Madrid where negotiators from nearly 200 countries are meeting amid mounting pressure for action to safeguard the planet from the catastrophic impacts of climate change.